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EIA: Coal generation decreases in 2022 but overall US emissions increase

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World Coal,

According to a recent release from the EIA, US coal-related CO2 emissions decreased by 7%, or 68 million t, in 2022 relative to 2021. This decrease was largely due to an 8% decline in coal-fired power generation because of retiring coal-fired generating capacity. Changes in electricity generation sources decreased the carbon intensity of electricity by 4% in the US in 2022, as growing natural gas-fired and renewable energy resources and a coal supply shortage contributed to the lower coal-related emissions.

Overall, US energy-related CO2 emissions increased slightly in 2022 to 4.939 billion t from 4.905 billion t in 2021, driven by a 2% increase in transportation sector emissions and a combined 1% increase in the residential and commercial sectors, according to the EIA’s newly released annual report on energy-related carbon emissions. Industrial sector emissions declined by 2% as industrial activity decreased by 3% over the period.

The decline in coal emissions last year is part of a longer-term trend. Overall, coal emissions have fallen 57% from their peak of 2.180 billion t in 2005.

The coal supply shortage was the result of production and consumption dynamics over the last several years. Between 2017 to 2019, coal production declined by 9%, mostly because of decreasing global coal demand and increasing competition from natural gas. US coal production decreased by an additional 24% in 2020 because of a coal surplus in 2019 coupled with lower electricity demand due to pandemic-related economic impacts. Demand for coal returned during 2H21 as the US economy returned to pre-pandemic activity. Coal inventories began to decrease because coal was used to meet rising demand.

To read the rest of the EIA’s release, complete with graphs, click here.

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US coal news Energy Information Administration news